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House gives Haridopolos his ‘Smart Cap’

by John Kennedy | May 4th, 2011

The House gave Senate President Mike Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island, another of his ballot priorities — a proposed tough new state spending limit (CS/SJR 958).

In the latest of a series of votes divided along party lines, the House approved Haridopolos’ ‘Smart Cap’ ballot proposal 78-40, which would ask voters to limit future state spending to population growth combined with the cost of living, toughening a state revenue cap in place since 1994.

Opponents of the measure argued it will tie lawmakers’ hands into the future — making it difficult to adjust to changing economic conditions.

“Fiscally conservative doesn’t mean being fiscally irresponsible,” said Rep. Mark Pafford, D-West Palm Beach. “This will drive Florida back 40 years.”

The measure, modeled on a ‘Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights” (TABOR) limit approved by Colorado voters in 1992, and later eased because of budget problems it caused.

Rep. Chris Dorworth, R-Lake Mary, said voters should be given a chance to limit state spending.
“All the money we’re talking about here is taxpayer money,” Dorworth said. “It’s not our money. We can restrain our growth.”

But Rep. Elaine Schwartz, D-Hollywood, said the ballot proposal was designed chiefly to drive conservative, Republican-leaning voters to the polls during the November 2012 elections.

“It’s purely a political move that’s not good for this state,” Schwartz said. “And it’s not good for future leaders. You won’t be able to hand out the $100 million in member projects you needed for the budget.”

Haridopolos, who plans to be a U.S. Senate candidate sharing the November ballot with ‘smart cap,’ praised the vote.

“This has been an issue I’ve worked on since I was first elected to the Legislature a decade ago,” Haridopolos said. “I was confident that this day would come if we were able to transform the Senate to a more fiscally conservative body, and I am proud today to have won this debate on behalf of Florida’s taxpayers.”

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2 Responses to “House gives Haridopolos his ‘Smart Cap’”

  1. Rich Says:

    These representatives have been promoting entitlements for illegals for decades. Now we are paying 6 billion dollars a year. Let’s get real. That money would have more than covered the deficit. This is a crime.

  2. Ed Connor Says:

    THis “Smart Cap” means nothing. It does not inclde all taxing authorities like Cities and Counties, which are a large part of tax burdens and the overage isn’t refunded as were Tabor overages in Colorado. This is simply pre-emptive legislation to keep a Citizens ballot initiative with real teeth off the ballot.

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